By David Cordova
In recent years, the point guard has always been the one position that has gotten more praise and adulation from many. Even though there are five positions on the court, the one that controls the game the most is the person at the “one.”
One player who is an example of that is Hofstra Pride sophomore guard Desure Buie. The 6-foot guard may be what some consider to be small and lithe in frame, but he more than makes up for it with his toughness, something that he has had to use for most of his life.
The Bronx native describes his upbringing and surroundings as one of the things that have made him the player that he is today, and the reason he stayed on the straight and narrow growing up. “Being from the Bronx is tough, you just have to choose the right route and that’s exactly what I’ve done. What motivates me to be successful is my family, my grandmother and my uncle weren’t here to see me accomplish my goals. I’m trying to get my family out of the projects. One day, I’m trying to get them out of the projects, so they won’t ever have to live there again.”
Buie made his name at Wings Academy, a powerhouse program in the Bronx under coach Billy Turnage in the last few seasons. As a sophomore, he averaged 9.2 points and 6.3 assists per game and as a junior, 16.2 points and 9.8 assists per game. But in those seasons, Wings failed to get past the PSAL semifinals in both years.
All of that changed in Buie’s senior year, as Wings they were on a mission during the 2014-15 season. With seniors such as Buie, guard Randy Corporan, Top 100 recruit Jessie Govan (now at Georgetown University) and junior Jamar Brown (now at Wagner College), as well as talented sophomores Jose Perez and Boubacar Kamissoko (currently in their senior year at Wings), they steamrolled through the regular season, going 17-0 in the PSAL Bronx “AA” Division.
Once they got to the playoffs, they were a team possessed, using their quickness and their size and toughness to get them ahead. They finally got past the hump by defeating Thomas Jefferson in the PSAL semifinals and then meeting up with the defending PSAL champions, Benjamin Cardozo High School, who had previously beaten them in the SNY Invitational earlier that season. In a very close game, Wings outlasted them 50-46, to win their first city championship since 2002.
They then continued on the New York State Federation tournament, where they played Shenendowa, led by Kevin Huerter (now at the University of Maryland) and defeated them in a close game, 44-35, which set up the battle between national powerhouse and CHSAA champion, Christ the King, who at the time was the two-time defending champion and featured their All-American guard Rawle Alkins (now at the University of Arizona). But the bigger the game, the more momentum the Wings had, which propelled them to win their state Federation title, 79-73.
After winning the city and state titles as a senior after averaging 17.1 points and 8 assists per game and being named First Team All-City by both the Daily News and MSG Varsity, Buie added: “That was the best moment ever, that made me not want to graduate. I wanted to get another one, that was the last go-around. I’m happy I finished the way I did.”
However, the season was not over yet as the Wings received an invitation to the Dick’s Sporting Goods National High School Tournament in April, a postseason event that has become one of the biggest during the high school season. In that event, the Wings matched up against perennial national powerhouse Oak Hill Academy of Virginia, who was then the No. 1 team in the country.
Buie then rose to the challenge, scoring 22 points against Oak Hill, but after hanging with the mighty Warriors for the first three quarters of the game, the steam of the Wings finally ran out and they lost 72-63. Buie had some positive remembrances of the experience: “I wish I could have done all that during all four years of high school. But playing against them, that was huge. It made me prepare for college. It was good, because it showed that I was able to compete against guys that were going to big-time schools.”
On October 24, 2014, after carefully weighing his options, Buie chose Hofstra as his college destination. “I loved the coaching staff. They were there during practices and even when I had bad games, they checked up on me anyway. I just felt that it was the right choice for me.”
Last season, Buie endured a learning experience as a freshman, getting limited minutes due to the presence of seniors Juan’ya Green and Ameen Tanksley. He averaged three points and one rebound in 34 games last year for the Pride.
His take on his freshman season: “I learned a lot from the seniors.I learned how to be a leader and how to take over.”
And take over he did. In fact, in a late-season game during conference play in a home game against Northeastern on February 21st, although Buie played only 10 minutes, he made a crucial impact in the game by hitting two crucial free throws, which were his only points of the game, in the final minute to go along with four steals and three assists.
That game and those lessons learned from watching last year’s seniors show that he is battle-tested and is ready to make his presence felt as a sophomore. “Just cause I’m not a senior, don’t mean I can’t step up. I’m still a floor general at the end of the day. So I have to do what I have to do.”
This season, there’s going to be a new floor general in Hempstead, determined to lead them to a CAA title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Although, expectations seem lofty for the Pride at this moment in November, with Buie at the point, the bigger the obstacle, the better chance it has of being deflated.
Courtesy of Elite Mixtapes.
Courtesy of SNY.
Courtesy of Complex News.
Courtesy of Hofstra University.